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Dispelling Ideas About What Social Work Is and Is Not

Students hold up signs during the 2018 Social Work Shout Out Rally

Authored by: Jill DiSanto

Photography by: Jessica Bautista

Student Life


To dispel common myths and deconstruct misconceptions associated with social work, students, staff, faculty, and alumni from Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice host an annual “Shout Out” on Locust Walk. Their goal is to get the facts about social work out to those who may not really know what it is. Compiled from an informal poll taken from students, staff, faculty, and alumni from the School, here are five things that you may not know about the social work profession.

Social work is more than just child welfare

There’s more to the profession than people think. In human service agencies, mental health clinics, prisons, military bases, homeless shelters, hospitals, and schools, social workers are everywhere creating a better society. They are counseling families, addicts and veterans; protecting against recidivism; helping seniors find community resources; leading non-profit organizations; and conducting empirical research.

Social workers are social justice change agents

How can they bring about social change? One way, is through making sure everyone has a voice and a seat the table. Social workers engage in difficult conversations every day: in the classroom and in the community, with people from differing backgrounds and perspectives to address inequality and reform.

Read the full story on Penn Today here.